Boston Bruins’ Shawn Thornton gets 15 games for attacking Brooks Orpik


Jun 1, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman

Mark Eaton

(4) chases the puck alongside Boston Bruins right wing

Shawn Thornton

(22) during the second period in game one of the Eastern Conference finals of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Department of Player Safety has determined that the Shawn Thornton’s assault on Brooks Orpik was so heineous in nature that it required a fifteen game suspension. Yes, it was pretty bad in the level of direct ferocity that Thornton brought. We knew it was going to be a double digit one. Frankly, Thornton deserved it for a blatant loss of control. I don’t think we were expecting fifteen though. (I had argued ten until the DoPS decided to sit on it another day.)

Here is the breakdown by the NHL and Brendan Shanahan on Thornton’s suspension. (NHL)

The Bruins organization is disappointed in the decision. “Higher than I expected and higher than I think is warranted,” offered Bruins President Cam Neely on the Thornton suspension. “We’ve had our fair share of players hurt badly by concussions,” Neely added. “I don’t think anyone’s gotten a 15-game suspension out of those. Thornton is a guy who plays the role he plays and has never had any suspensions or issues. It comes down a little harsh for me.”

Let’s take a look at Cam Neely’s opinion. We need to take a look at the two concussions sustained by Loui Eriksson. The first one, which was clearly dirty and committed by repeat offender John Scott earned him a seven game benching. The second one, committed by (surprise here) Brooks Orpik was deemed to be a perfectly clean hit and not worthy of supplementary discipline. While I can see the point of the penalty being questioned, if we’re sending a message that certain teams can engage in a woefully dangerous manner, than the DoPS isn’t doing it’s job. How about James Neal got for nailing Brad Marchand in the head, eh?

On a side note, it’s great to see that deliberately targeting a player in the head, and then lying about it only gets you a five game suspension. Here’s how the Penguins saw the suspension.